Bloating gets a seriously bad rap — there are tips on how to stop it, lists of bloat-causing foods you’re told to avoid, and theory after theory on why it happens. Bloating is the curse of a stomach that looks larger than it actually is. And nobody wants that.
But bloating happens to everyone — even the healthiest people, even people with flat stomachs, and even the people who successfully avoid all the foods that supposedly cause it. Literally everyone gets bloated every now and again. Is there something wrong with all of us?
No. And here’s why.
Bloating isn’t anything bad, and it’s certainly nothing to fret over. Sure, your stomach pouches out a little bit further when you’re bloated. You might need to wear some stretchy pants that day. But here are a few things bloating is not:
A sign you need to detox.
Your stomach sabotaging your beach day.
Bloating dissipates as you digest. Your stomach returns to its normal size. And — most importantly — you can still live your life, uninhibited, when you’re a little bloated. Here’s what bloating actually is: A buildup of gas in your digestion tract. That’s literally it.
Gas could build up in your stomach from all kinds of causes. The first is just plain old digestion — if you ate something that was a little harder to digest, or just a larger volume of food than you’re used to, bloating might occur.
Some foods that are hard to digest are proteins and raw vegetables — both of which are great for you in moderate amounts. If you’re severely bloated, you could be eating too much of these items. But that’s not that big of a deal. Your body just did you a favor to let you know it wants you to eat less raw kale next time.
Many healthful, high-fiber foods are also high-volume. Vegetables, fruit, and legumes, for example, are high-volume foods, meaning that a serving of them takes up a lot of stomach space. The volume could cause some bloating, simply because the food needs more room. Your stomach ends up needing more room, too. So being bloated could just mean you’re eating a lot of high-fiber health foods.
Some other causes of bloating are food intolerances, carbonation, or stress. If your bloating is happening because of a food intolerance, it’s actually still a good sign — it means that instead of letting the unwelcome food become a real issue, your digestive system is working hard to handle it. Next time, you know which foods are best for you to avoid. We recommend you talk to a doctor before cutting out a food entirely.
Even though bloating isn’t anything severe or bad, it can still be pretty annoying. Here are some tips for relieving the uncomfortable bloat, fast.